East of England agriculture businesses ‘most financially stable in UK’, figures reveal

Mark Upton at Ensors Chartered. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mark Upton at Ensors Chartered. Picture: GREGG BROWN

East of England agriculture businesses are the most financially stable in the UK, research reveals.

February figures compiled by insolvency and restructuring body R3’s Eastern branch, using Bureau Van Dijk’s Fame database, show that around one in four, or 26.9%, agriculture companies in the region are at higher than normal risk of insolvency - the lowest percentage in the UK equating to 852 local businesses.

Wales has the highest proportion of agriculture companies at elevated risk of insolvency with 41.8%, almost 10% higher than the UK average of 32%.

The east’s tourism sector fares less well, with a higher proportion of firms at above average risk than any of its UK regional counterparts, with the exception of Yorkshire, the South East and the South West. Around two in five local operators, 37.4%, are at higher than normal risk of insolvency, 3% above the UK average of 34%.

The R3 research indicates that almost two in five Eastern companies – 39% - currently have an elevated insolvency risk, which equates to 133,253 local businesses. In February 2017, the proportion was one in four, or 25%, representing 84,390 businesses.

R3 Eastern chair Mark Upton, a partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants in East Anglia, said: “There are glimmers of regional positivity to be seen in these latest R3 statistics, but the overall picture is a cause for concern. The percentage of East of England businesses at greater than usual risk of insolvency over the past three months is higher than at any other point in the past year.

“All too frequently, it is not until a company is on the brink of insolvency that its owners seek financial advice. If businesses sought professional help sooner, then far more could be done to help them survive.”